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Jackie’s Story

 

To love and be loved is something I knew in my fairy tale marriage with my husband of 40 years. 

 We always thought that our union was divine and our love for each other was meant to be.  So we lived, loved and enjoyed what we had, everyday. Then seven years ago we had what I’ve called one of “life’s interruptions,” not in our love but in the way we would live and love from that point on.  In 2003, my husband was diagnosed as having Alzheimer’s disease.  For a period of about six-weeks, I went into a “pause mode,” functioning but totally emerged in a state of helplessness, not only because it was no longer possible to maintain a relationship at the level I’d known for so long, but what do I do now about anything, everything. During that period, caring friends directed me to The Alzheimer’s Family Services of Greater Beaufort.  Making that contact was the best thing I could have done for both of us.  From the initial contact, I knew I’d made the right move.  The entire staff surrounded us with such genuine love and care that I trusted them with our lives, which is the beauty of their program. Plus it’s a total family package.  Other support came in many forms. On a personal level, the love, attention, concern and constant contact were the things that got me headed in the right direction. For him, the big plus was that they showed their love for him so he loved and trusted them.  As a caregiver, the support program and social day program were lifesavers.  Information through personal and group counseling sessions, workshops, consultations with professionals and experts in this area of medicine and printed material gave me the information needed to cope and be the caregiver I wanted to be. They even arranged for in-home assistance if needed and respite for weekends or even a week.  These people became our family and were there 24/7.  It was soon evident that life was worth living again as we emerged like the butterfly from its cocoon. With lightheartedness, we laughed again, we lived again, our love was deeper and we lived more intensively. Sure, there were some difficult moments but our love for each other and the ever present support of the Alzheimer’s Family Services gave me the confidence to do my best while enjoying our time together.  Another of “life’s interruptions” came in 2007 when my love passed away on our 40th wedding anniversary.  Needles to say, I went back into my “pause mode.”  Once again the questions were unanswered as to what now.  It is with a grateful heart that I acknowledge the continued support of AFS.  They have been with me through the most difficult times and continue to love and support me in my wellbeing today. They’re truly my extended family.  It’s been almost 3 yrs. now since my husband passed on but with their help I am at a point where I can enjoy moments reliving our fairy tale marriage and life because those memories are embedded in my heart forever.  I gladly give the deserving accolades to the Alzheimer’s Family Services for all they did for us whenever there is an opportunity.  The services they provide for families going through the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or a related disease is phenomenal.  I highly recommend this agency to all faced with the same or similar dilemma I experienced and if you want to talk with me just let AFS know, I’m always willing to share what I’ve learned with others.

Jackie 

 

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